Summer 2011 and it’s rather ironic that 100 years of senior football at Stag Meadow should be celebrated by the birth of a brand new club, Windsor FC, which came to be following the sad demise after 118 years of Windsor & Eton FC. During the final death throes of the previous club it became apparent, following several well attended supporters’ meetings, that the will was there to continue to host a senior football club in Windsor for the community to embrace and, therefore, on February 4th 2011 WFC Football Community Development Ltd was registered with Companies House with the aim of achieving that objective. Founding Director Kevin Stott and a newly-appointed management committee then set about the long and sometimes arduous task of turning that dream into a reality.
A business plan centred around self-sustainability was formulated and presented to the Football Association which eventually led to acceptance for the new club at level 5 of the non-league system and an allocation to compete in the Premier Division of the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League for season 2011/12. Now the new club had been accepted it needed a name and invitations were extended to the people of Windsor to nominate and then vote on the new naming process and thus Windsor FC was born.
Self-sustaining and community are the two key elements behind the ethos of the new setup and the provision of a 3rd generation artificial surface training area/small-sided games pitches at the Great Park end of the ground, when completed, will form the first brick in the foundations of the self-sustainability module as well as providing a much-needed facility for the community to use. The other main development thus far on the community side is welcoming on board the 34 teams and over 300 players of New Windsor Youth FC who will now be known as Windsor FC Youth, adopting the club badge and colours and providing a progression pathway from small-sided through to senior football for the youth of the town of Windsor.
Other innovative community involvement schemes sees a charity partner displayed on our shirts instead of a sponsors’ name and we are proud to be involved with Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service who are aiming to raise funds to build a state of the art Hospice in the local area on land generously paid for by a mystery donor. We also have our very own club mascot ‘Scotty the Stag’ who regularly appears at local school fetes and other events publicising the club as well as supporting the fund raising activities of the club in general. In his spare time Scotty is becoming a bit of a celebrity taking part in races such as the Mascot Grand National and despite some close finishes is yet to claim his first win but if medals were given for effort then Scotty would be No.1 on the podium !
Our founding season turned out to be a very exciting one, eventually finishing as runners-up to worthy Champions Guildford City in the league and we also made it to the semi-finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy so it was close but no silverware to show for it, although that is not entirely true as Ryan O’Toole won the Golden Boot as top scorer in the Premier Division and Hayden Wheelers’ efforts in editing our programme led to it being voted best programme in the Premier Division.
Several weeks into season 2012/2013 a major decision to operate without a budget was taken to free up funds for the regeneration plans at the ground and the management team and all but three of the playing squad left immediately. Mick Woodham was appointed as our new manager and had two days to get together a squad before our next league game. Despite some heavy defeats early in his tenure as he built a squad of local youngsters the club never lost faith and Mick eventually put together a squad that was to finish a very creditable 6th in the league as well as another appearance in the semi-finals of the county Senior Trophy competition whilst our Under 18’s side made it all the way to the CCL’s Grant McLellan Youth Cup Final eventually losing to a very strong Camberley Town side.
Recognition from the league away from football itself was achieved with a runners-up award for the programme in the Premier Division and FA Groundsman of the Year award for the CCL and this was added to in August 2013 when our groundsman Lewis Clements won the FA Groundsman of the Year Award for the whole of Step 5 and 6 football nationally, something both he and the club are justifiably proud of whilst also giving some extra publicity to the CCL.
This building process will continue for season 2013/2014 as players are added to the squad with the emphasis on young local players interspersed with some older experienced heads but whatever happens results wise we’ll continue to enjoy visiting the many friends we made in our first two seasons in the Combined Counties League and hope they all enjoy their visits to Stag Meadow.